On Sunday night President Obama addressed the country to inform us that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Coincidentally, 66 years to the date the world learned that Hitler had committed suicide. While many are celebrating this historic occasion my thoughts are turning to the victims of 9/11, the soldiers and innocent civilians that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the word “peace” can only be found once in the remarks by President Obama on Osama Bin Laden, that’s what I’m thinking of today.
Rosa ‘Peace’ is said to be the most widely planted rose in the world. It was developed by French horticulturist Francois Meilland, and was set to be introduced prior to World War II where it was to be named in honor his mother.
With the invasion of France on the horizon Meilland sent some cuttings to friends in other countries. One of the last aircrafts to leave France before the Nazi blitzkrieg headed to the United States with cuttings of ‘Peace.’ In the United States they were received by famed rosarian Robert Pyle who propagated and successfully trialled them during the war years. The hybrid tea rose was officially renamed ‘Peace’ the same day Berlin fell to Allied Forces. ‘Peace’ was the sole recipient of All-America Rose Selections designation, a high honor for roses, in 1946 the day Japan surrendered.
Delegates to the first United Nations meeting in San Francisco were greeted with ‘Peace’ roses with a note that read “We hope the ‘Peace’ rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace”.
Today many in our country are celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden and the occasion brings a lot of relief and closure. The vibe of this country will be different this 4th of July and I expect to that we’ll see larger patriotic gardens. I expect more red, white and blue blooms. More tiny flags tucked in hanging baskets than usual as a nation celebrates a mission really being accomplished.
As I type this it dawned on me than there’s a whole generation of Americans who have never known peace because we’ve been at war as long as they’ve been alive. Americans who have to grow up without a parent as a result of the attacks on 9/11. Hopefully we all have room in our hearts and gardens to allow peace to take root.